Mental health awareness is now more important than ever and one local organization is on a mission to bring awareness to the importance of suicide prevention.

Contact Community Services offers a special suicide safety school program and Division Director Susan VanCamp says that the program is beneficial for not just students and staff but parents too.

“The focus is really on reducing stigma and improving access to care, so we can identify anyone early so that they can get the help that they need,” she says.

Contact Community Services uses evidence-based practices, protocols and trainings as a way to encourage community members to have open communication around suicide awareness and prevention. Training offerings include suicide safety in school for staff, school crisis team planning and how to recognize the warning signs of suicide at home or in the classroom. Most importantly though, Program Director Kristen Stanton says the program is also critical to helping someone know and understand how to save a life.

“We want to make sure that everyone knows how to reach out and what to do in a certain situation,” she adds. “We want to make sure parents are informed on how to talk to their children about what they’re feeling and what to do when they’re students are in crisis.”

Contact Community Services offers services and support across Central New York. To learn more, visit ContactSyracuse.org. For more information about suicide safety in schools, please contact Susan VanCamp at (315) 218-1922.